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Thanksgiving is more than getting together with family and friends for good food and interesting conversation. It spurs that end-of-year time for reflection and gratitude. Why save it until the end of the year, though? Practicing a year-round “attitude of gratitude” can be more than a seasonal thing. It’s actually good for you. Here are five scientifically-proven benefits of gratitude:

  1. Showing gratitude boosts happiness. Try jotting down two or three things you’re grateful for every day, or better yet, talk about them over dinner. Feel the smiles.
  2. Expressing gratitude increases your willpower. Have any resolutions for the new year that require willpower, like training for that marathon, learning a new language, or acing a class? You’ll need some willpower for that. 
  3. Gratitude improves physical health. That’s right: your body reacts positively when you’re sincerely grateful. How?  A 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences found that grateful people are more likely to take better care of themselves physically by eating right and exercising regularly.
  4. Grateful people sleep better. In a 2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well‐Being, researchers discovered that folks who express what they’re thankful for and to whom right before they go to bed sleep better than those who don’t. Say thank you and catch some zzz’s!
  5. Being grateful increases grit, or your mental strength and resilience. That’s right, when you’re grateful, you’re likely to recover more easily after setbacks and develop a stick-with-it attitude. When it comes to those things in life you want to do, don’t you need a healthy dose of that?

Practicing an attitude of gratitude isn’t that hard and it’s one of the simplest ways to improve your life. Start with a “thank you.” Write that pile of thank you notes, or send some thank you texts. Go out on a limb and call someone. You don’t have to be thankful for big things, either. It’s the little things. It’s always the little things. 

Enjoy the holiday season and remember: being grateful is a year-round activity!

What are you grateful for today?

 

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